Healthy teeth start with healthy habits. The simple oral care habits that are part of your daily routine actually go a long way towards protecting your teeth and gums against a range of preventable dental problems. Taking care of your teeth requires only a few basic tools and a little know-how.
Protect Your Mouth Against Plaque
Gum disease (gingivitis) is cause in part by the plaque that builds up on your teeth near the gum line. This hard layer is formed by bacteria which flourish by feeding on the food particles that should be cleared away with brushing. Over time, the layer of plaque causes the gum line to recede. Your gums might feel swollen and tender or might bleed slightly after brushing. These are a few signs that plaque is starting to win.
While daily brushing is essential for keeping your mouth healthy, using a toothbrush and toothpaste alone is often not enough to keep plaque at bay. In addition, you should add flossing at least once a day, and make sure you are regularly visiting your dentist, since s/he has specialized tools and treatment options to remove hard-to-reach plaque, and the plaque that has hardened to become tartar.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Even though daily dental care habits will go a long way towards preventing gum disease, regular checkups with your dentist will help ensure a lifetime of good oral health. During your checkup, your dental care team will:
- Remove the tough layer of plaque that has built up since your last cleaning
- Check for cavities and places where cavities might develop
- Identify any chips or cracks that need repairing
- Provide personalized guidance to help you care for your teeth
Dentists recommend that most patients see them for checkups and cleaning twice a year, although that can vary depending on your own personal oral health needs. This will help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.